Category Archives: cravings

More Information that Sugar is Addictive & Damaging

Research into the foods we regularly consume has been improving the last few years, and as noted researchers like pediatric specialist Dr. Robert Lustig have been beating the drum that we are causing our children great damage with all the sugars we are giving them, that core of proof is growing and lends support to the assertions many of have been making that sugar is simply bad for human consumption.

If you are interested in learning more, you might find these of interest:

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2013/10/15/Oreos-just-as-addictive-as-cocaine-in-rats/UPI-76821381873121/?spt=rln&or=1

http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2006/12/which-drink-causes-gout.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedDb=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=12055324&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

On Sugar Addiction from Dr. Frank Lippman

I hope you enjoy this post which you can see in full at:

http://www.goop.com/journal/do/103/overcoming-sugar-addiction 

What we should know about sugar
from Dr. Frank Lipman

As a serious sugar addict still struggling with my “addiction” I know first hand how difficult it is to get off sugar, and to stay off it. Part of the reason it’s so hard to kick the habit is that over time our brains actually become addicted to the natural opioids that are triggered by sugar consumption. Much like the classic drugs of abuse such as cocaine, alcohol and nicotine, a diet loaded with sugar can generate excessive reward signals in the brain which can override one’s self-control and lead to addiction.

One study out of France, presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, showed that when rats (who metabolize sugar much like we do) were given the choice between water sweetened with saccharin and intravenous cocaine, 94% chose the saccharin water. When the water was sweetened with sucrose (sugar), the same preference was observed—the rats overwhelmingly chose the sugar water. When the rats were offered larger doses of cocaine, it did not alter their preference for the saccharin or sugar water. Even rats addicted to cocaine, switched to sweetened water when given the choice. In other words, intense sweetness was more rewarding to the brain than cocaine.

The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction to include three stages: bingeing, withdrawal and craving. Until recently, the rats had only met two of the elements of addiction, bingeing and withdrawal. But recent experiments by Princeton University scientist, Professor Bart Hoebel, and his team showed craving and relapse as well. By showing that excess sugar led not only to bingeing and withdrawal, but to cravings for sweets as well, the final critical component of addiction fell into place and completed the picture of sugar as a highly addictive substance.

In stark contrast to this clinical assessment is the fact that, for most of us, “something sweet” is a symbol of love and nurturance. As infants, our first food is lactose, or milk sugar. Later on, well-intended parents (me included) reward children with sugary snacks, giving them a “treat,” turning a biochemically harmful substance into a comfort food. We become conditioned to need something sweet to feel complete or satisfied, and continue to self-medicate with sugar as adults, using it to temporarily boost our mood or energy. But as any addict knows, one quick fix soon leaves you looking for another—each hit of momentary satisfaction comes with a long-term price.

The bottom line is that sugar works the addiction and reward pathways in the brain in much the same way as many illegal drugs. And, like other drugs, it can destroy your health and lead to all sorts of ailments including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, and premature aging. Sugar is basically a socially acceptable, legal, recreational drug, with deadly consequences—and like with any drug addiction, you have to have a flexible but structured plan to beat it.

Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC and the author of REVIVE; Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again (2009) (previously called SPENT) and TOTAL RENEWAL; 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003). He is the creator of Eleven Eleven Wellness, Guided Health Solutions, leading edge integrative health programs to help you feel better than ever.

 

Sugar Addiction is Real

What is an addiction? Merriam-Webster defines an addiction as follows:

noun \ə-ˈdik-shən, a-\

: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)

: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something 

:  the quality or state of being addicted

:  compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal;broadly :  persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.

If you, like millions of others, find that sugar creates a persistent and undeniable need for more sugar, you are likely addicted. Both in the biological and psychological realms.

Sugar is a major part of our western food industry, our western food traditions, and it’s hard to avoid. But for many of us, any sugar leads to persistent cravings for more sugar, and therefore we are for all intents and purposes addicted

I have offered other blog posts about the problems of staying away from sugars, especially in regard to weight loss, but more important are the harmful affects of glycation that sugars cause at the cellular level.

There are many reasons to get control of sugar, but as we grow older we more than ever appreciate that part of what we think of as “natural” effects of aging, are in fact the results of decades of poor diet. Sugars and starches from grains, are the worst offenders. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, declining joint functions related to arthritis, bone loss, fuzzy thinking, wrinkling  and thinning skin, and so forth.

If you find that it is next to impossible for you to stay away from sweets, then consider that abstaining is the best way. We can’t have just a little of these sugars/starches without the concomitant insulin reaction that we know as cravings. If you stall or struggle at weight loss, chances are high that the problems stem with what you are eating. Eating sugar or starchy foods creates a vicious cycle of cravings. The only way to stop an addiction is to actually STOP what causes it.

No one likes to think s/he can’t control a substance, but most people who are plagued by the addictive nature of cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, and sugar, among others, know that there is no such things as “a little.”  To be free of any addictive substance or behavior means abstaining.

Yours in reality,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Allergy to Sugar?

While not common (some experts say it is not possible) it seems there are some people who are allergic to sugar, or have symptoms very like allergies to various forms of sugars. I know my mother was highly allergic to honey, which is also not all that common. Of course, many people are allergic to grains, especially gluten grains, which might appear to be an allergy to sugar, when the allergy is really the foundation the sugar may be laid upon.

As with many allergies, people often strangely crave the very thing that cause them problems. Why, no one seems to know. Here are a few studies I found relating to sugar allergies:

http://nancyappleton.com/allergies-disease/

http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/PedEndocrine/EatAsIfYouAreAllergicToSugar.pdf

http://mossig.net/sugar-allergy-symptoms-what-you-should-do-to-avoid-them/

http://www.mnn.com/health/allergies/photos/10-common-allergy-myths/allergic-to-sugar

Ever More Studies are Showing that Sugar Affects the Brain Like Opiods

Those of us who have struggled with sugar don’t need a study to tell us that there is something different about sugar than other foods. Dr. Yudkin in the 1970s showed the addictive properties of sugar, and was bold enough to say that had sugar been discovered now it would be a controlled substance. Below is a link to yet another study that lifts up the problem with over use of sugar.  While some people can handle sugar and not allow it to become a dependency, just like there are people who can smoke and drink without becoming dependent, there are some people who find they cannot stay away from the powerful draw of sugar. What starts as some overeating can eventually lead to binges, so there is a progressive element to sugar addiction that’s also present in alcohol abuse.

No one likes to think they are addicted to anything, but for those of us who have found ourselves constantly craving more sugar-starchy food even though we have just eaten a big meal know that there is something we have ceased to be able to control when it comes to those highly refined carbohydrates.

Once we accept we can’t have a little and go our merry way, the healing begins. For me it is strict abstaining from sugars, most starches, and artificial sweeteners.  Sugar was the only thing in my life I could not control, and while it may not be how I expected to  find myself as I aged, at least now there is a plethora of information to support why we struggle with this substance, and why we need to avoid it long before we find ourselves under its control.

Yours in learning and acceptance,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Here’s the link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=12055324&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

Obes Res. 2002 Jun;10(6):478-88.

Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The goal was to determine whether withdrawal from sugar can cause signs of opioid dependence. Because palatable food stimulates neural systems that are implicated in drug addiction, it was hypothesized that intermittent, excessive sugar intake might create dependency, as indicated by withdrawal signs.

RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES:

Male rats were food-deprived for 12 hours daily, including 4 hours in the early dark, and then offered highly palatable 25% glucose in addition to chow for the next 12 hours. Withdrawal was induced by naloxone or food deprivation. Withdrawal signs were measured by observation, ultrasonic recordings, elevated plus maze tests, and in vivo microdialysis.

RESULTS:

Naloxone (20 mg/kg intraperitoneally) caused somatic signs, such as teeth chattering, forepaw tremor, and head shakes. Food deprivation for 24 hours caused spontaneous withdrawal signs, such as teeth chattering. Naloxone (3 mg/kg subcutaneously) caused reduced time on the exposed arm of an elevated plus maze, where again significant teeth chattering was recorded. The plus maze anxiety effect was replicated with four control groups for comparison. Accumbens microdialysis revealed that naloxone (10 and 20 mg/kg intraperitoneally) decreased extracellular dopamine (DA), while dose-dependently increasing acetylcholine (ACh). The naloxone-induced DA/ACh imbalance was replicated with 10% sucrose and 3 mg/kg naloxone subcutaneously.

DISCUSSION:

Repeated, excessive intake of sugar created a state in which an opioid antagonist caused behavioral and neurochemical signs of opioid withdrawal. The indices of anxiety and DA/ACh imbalance were qualitatively similar to withdrawal from morphine or nicotine, suggesting that the rats had become sugar-dependent.

PMID:

 12055324

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=12055324&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

Stevia for Sweetening

I have tried about all the artificial sweeteners, but discovered that most of them caused me to crave as bad or worse than sugar. Of all I’ve tried thus far only the Now brand stevia drops have been over-all good for the very few things I want to sweeten (no doubt other brands are good, but this is my choice of the ones I’ve tried).

One good thing about stevia is that the plant has been in use for decades, and is closer to being truly natural than all the others; so far I’ve not heard anything to suggest there is any reason to not use it.

I still think the best thing is to wean off the taste of sweet as much as possible. 

Here is a post from Mark’s Daily Apple that gives a good run down on stevia, especially that it does not appear to impact insulin, which is the most important part from my point of view.

Yours in learning,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Source: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/stevia/#axzz2txTCkAPW

Stevia is an herbaceous family of plants, 240 species strong, that grows in sub-tropical and tropical America (mostly South and Central, but some North). Stevia the sweetener refers to stevia rebaudiana, the plant and its leaves, which you can grow and use as or with tea (it was traditionally paired with yerba mate in South America) or, dried and powdered, as a sugar substitute that you sprinkle on. It’s apparently quite easy to grow (according to the stevia seller who tries to get me to buy a plant or two whenever I’m at the Santa Monica farmers’ market), and the raw leaf is very sweet.

Most stevia you’ll come across isn’t in its raw, unprocessed form, but in powdered or liquid extract form. The “sweet” lies in the steviol glycosides – stevioside and rebaudioside –

which are isolated in these extracts. Some products use just one, while others use both stevioside and rebaudioside. Stevioside is the most prevalent glycoside in stevia, and some say it provides the bitter aftertaste that people sometimes complain about; rebaudioside is said to be the better tasting steviol glycoside, with far less bitterness. Most of the “raw or natural” stevia products use the full range of glycosides, but the more processed brands will most likely isolate one or more of the steviol glycosides. The popular Truvia brand of stevia products uses only rebaudioside, as do both PureVia and Enliten. Different brands provide different conversion rates, but compared to sucrose, stevioside is generally about 250-300 times as sweet and rebaudioside is about 350-450 times as sweet.

Does Stevia Affect Insulin?

There is one in vitro study that showed stevioside acts directly on pancreatic beta cells to stimulate insulin secretion and another which shows similarly insulinotropic effects of rebaudioside, which may give you pause. Insulin secretion sounds like an insulin spike, no? And since we tend to be wary of unneeded insulin spikes, maybe we should avoid stevia. It’s not so simple, of course. For one, this was an in vitro study, performed in a super-controlled laboratory petri dish type setting; this was not an in vivo study of animals or people eating stevia in a natural, organic way. The results of in vitro studies are notorious for not panning out when you try to replicate them in vivo. Secondly, insulin secretion isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I mean, we need it to shuttle nutrients into cells, and we’d die without it. As I mentioned in the dairy post a few weeks back, insulin is millions upon millions of years old. It’s been preserved throughout history because it’s an essential hormone. It’s not always the bad guy, especially if you’re insulin sensitive.

In fact, the evidence is mounting that stevia actually is an insulin sensitizer that can aid in glucose tolerance and clearance after a meal. The Japanese have been using stevia for decades in the treatment of type 2 diabetics. Let’s look at a few recent studies. In fructose-fed rats, a single instance of oral stevioside increased insulin sensitivity and reduced postprandial blood glucose in a dose-dependent manner. The same study also found that diabetic rats given stevioside required less exogenous insulin for the same effect. Taken together, these results suggest that stevia may not just be a good sugar substitute for

diabetics, but an effective supplement for treatment of their insulin resistance.

Another study looked at the postprandial effects of stevia, sucrose, and aspartame in human subjects. Compared to sucrose eaters, stevia eaters showed lower postprandial blood sugar levels. Compared to both sucrose and aspartame eaters, stevia eaters had far lower postprandial insulin levels. Furthermore, eating stevia did not induce increased appetite throughout the day, indicating stable blood sugar and satiety levels. Another strike in stevia’s favor.

Any Other Effects?

There are other potential benefits to using stevia unrelated to its apparent benefits on glycemic control. Here are a few studies I was able to dig up:

  • When combined with inulin, a soluble prebiotic fiberlow-dose stevia increased HDL while lowering overall lipids in male rats. Alone, low-dose stevia lowered cholesterol without the potentially beneficial effect on HDL. It’s also useful to note that high-dose stevia negatively affected some toxic parameters – so don’t eat spoonfuls of stevia (not that you would) – but long term low-dose stevia was deemed safe.
  • Lipid numbers are fun and all, but we’re really interested in avoiding atherosclerotic plaque buildup. In mice treated with stevioside, oxidized LDL was reduced, overall plaque volume was reduced, and insulin sensitivity increased. Overall, atherosclerosis was reduced in the stevioside-treated mice. I couldn’t dig up exactly how they were “treated,” however, but they were given doses of 10 mg/kg.
  • In another study, mice memory was impaired by administration of scopolamine, an anticholigernic found in the intensely hallucinogenic jimson weed (or devil’s weed) and datura. Impaired mice were given oral stevioside (250 mg/kg) and tested for memory retention. Memory deficit was largely reversed with administration of stevioside, which also reduced the brain oxidative damage caused by scopolamine. Clinically relevant? Perhaps not, but it’s interesting.
  • A two-year randomized, placebo-controlled study of Chinese patients with mild hypertension (which a rather large swath of society probably suffers from) found that oral stevioside intake significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Patients either took a 500 mg capsule of stevioside or a placebo three times a day for two years. The hypertension situation improved across the board and no downsides were reported or detected. Also of note is the fact that slightly more patients in the placebo group developed left ventricular hypertrophy, a pathological thickening of the heart muscle. Of course, another study using far lower doses (up to 15 mg/kg/day) found no anti-hypertensive effects, so it appears that the dose is key. Maybe somewhere in the middle works well, as one study in hypertensive dogs showed: they used 200 mg/kg to normalize blood pressure in the canine subjects.

We can think about stevia as a Primal sugar alternative with some potentially therapeutic effects. Kind of like cinnamon or turmeric, we don’t consume it for the calories or as literal fuel for our bodies, but for flavor, variety, and, possibly, the health benefits. It may induce insulin secretion, but it increases insulin sensitivity, reduces blood glucose (i.e., the insulin is doing its job), and does not increase appetite. It’s been used by humans for hundreds of years and by diabetic patients in Asia for decades. The goofy health food store dude who claims aspartame was created by Donald Rumsfeld to give us cancer may be a vociferous supporter of it, but don’t hold that against stevia. I’m a fan of the stuff and recommend it as a Primal way to satisfy a sweet tooth.

What do you guys think of stevia? Love it? Hate it? Have you ever used its potential therapeutic effects? Let me know in the comment section!

Does the Outdoor Temperature/Weather Affect Your Appetite?

I am affected by the outdoor weather. When it’s blazing hot, I have almost no appetite; one of the rare times I don’t want to eat. Conversely, when the weather is cold, snowy, rainy, I like to have warm and comforting foods.  A blanket of snow calls for chili, soup, stew, casseroles, any such very warming food.

You are also affected by the weather, to a greater or lesser degree, though you may not be aware of the connection. We are often not aware that outside climate factors can have a great impact on our desire to eat, and the kinds of foods we want to eat; they also impact our sleep, desire to move, and other behaviors.

Some people are brought very low, even to depression by certain kinds of weather, particularly during the short days of winter.  But other kinds of weather can also make people react at a very deep biological level.  High winds unsettle most people, deep cold, that is, temperatures that fall well below freezing make people uneasy. Very bright sunlight, or simply bright light often affects people prone to migraine or other neurological disorders.

If you have not yet, begin to take note of the way you feel in various kinds of weather conditions. I joke with my family that 72F with a light breeze is my idea of good weather, but I also find a comfort on rainy, cool afternoons when I can be at home settled in a chair with a good book or movie.

When I did my most detailed journals of my food, along with noting mood, I noted the weather; not surprisingly, there was often a correlation. Days when I felt unsettled, antsy, aggravated, such as when the winds were high, I tended to be hungry, and want to eat more often.

Just a reminder that we developed in closer connection with the out-of-doors than we tend to live now, but we are still very much a part of the changes going on there whether we realize it or not.

Yours in knowledge,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

For more: http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/fall-weather-brings-risk-of-de/18331198